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January 11, 2014

Stat Attack - Elite Goalscorers in Europe 2010-11

By Ted Knutson

Part 1: Messi did not have the best goalscoring rate in two of the last four seasons.
Part 2: Defining elite goalscoring, and the top scorers of 2009-10.

This piece assumes you have read at least part 2, since that talks about the various acronyms used in this piece and explains why one would bother to normalize goalscoring data in the first place.

Today I will be posting all the top goalscoring stats from 2010-11 and talking a bit about the specific findings from that particular year. They are posted in sortable table format so that they are easy to swipe and re-use for your own research, should you be into that sort of thing. (I won’t judge.)

Two More Driving Concepts
Yesterday I talked about why we strip out penalties and cut the data into 90 minute increments. Today I want to talk about two additional concepts that have an impact on player evaluation when looking at these stats.

First of all, when young players appear in these numbers, it’s more meaningful than when older players are here.

For the purposes of forward play, “young” players equal 23 and Under, while peak is 24-26, and beyond that most players have a post-peak plateau and often a fairly steep decline. There are a lot of reasons for this, but most of it comes down to the age curve. I’ve written more on this topic here, but the quick and dirty of it is – on average – you can expect younger forwards to continue improving up to age 25-26, at which point their performance tends to peak, and then gradually fall off.

Thus, when you see young players deliver stats that are among the best goalscoring rates in Europe, it’s exciting, because it means there is a reasonable chance they will get even better.

The second concept to keep in mind is a positional one. We expect central forwards to generally exhibit the highest goalscoring rate, and that’s generally true across leagues. However, when wide players or attacking midfielders start showing up in this list, it is very interesting. Sometimes this is a systemic effect based on a unique tactical system, but a lot of times it will indicate unusual goalscoring potential from a position that doesn’t always deliver those numbers. The modern game practically demands you have wide men who can score goals, so showing up here is a good thing, and doubly so when a player is young.

Right, on to the leagues!

EPL 2010-11
The Premier League this season had a long list of guys who were good or very good, topped by three players who were among the best in Europe that year in RVP, Berbatov, and 22-year-old Javier Hernandez (who is now 25, and really deserves a full-time starting role somewhere).

Note a young Andy Carroll is in this list, as are wide men Florent Malouda, and 21-year-old, always productive but oft-injured Theo Walcott.

Jermaine Beckford is also somehow on this list, which is probably the last point he was particularly useful for anyone as a goalscorer. He was already 27 then, which is another reason teams need to pay attention to age when doing transfer business.

PlayerSeasonTeam90MinsGNPGG90NPG90
Robin van Persie2011Arsenal19.644418160.91630.8145
Dimitar Berbatov2011Manchester United24.555620200.81450.8145
Javier Hernández2011Manchester United16.5111130.78730.7873
Steven Fletcher2011Wolverhampton Wanderers15.51090.64520.5806
Salomon Kalou2011Chelsea17.3556100.57620.5762
Andy Carroll2011Newcastle United23130.56520.5652
Jermaine Beckford2011Everton14.655680.54590.5459
Carlos Tévez2011Manchester City28.133320150.71090.5332
Demba Ba2011West Ham24.5778130.52890.5289
Roman Pavlyuchenko2011Tottenham17.688990.50880.5088
Sylvain Ebanks-Blake2011Wolverhampton Wanderers14.570.48280.4828
Theo Walcott2011Arsenal18.844490.47760.4776
Louis Saha2011Everton15.244470.45920.4592
Edin Dzeko2011Manchester City26.2667120.45690.4569
DJ Campbell2011Blackpool29.2130.44520.4452
Maxi Rodríguez2011Liverpool22.7100.44050.4405
Peter Odemwingie2011West Bromwich Albion29.815130.50340.4362
Florent Malouda2011Chelsea31.2222130.41640.4164
Asamoah Gyan2011Sunderland24.0222100.41630.4163
Tim Cahill2011Everton22.490.40180.4018
Darren Bent2011Sunderland34.988917140.48590.4001

LaLiga 2010-11
Man, La Liga this season was loaded. You have Ronaldo and Messi in the Top 5 in Europe, a ton of middle-tier guys posting outstanding rates, and the kids were ridiculous. Sergio Aguero is here, tearing up the league, Salomon Rondon (21, but moved to Rubin Kazan a year later), Pedro (wide+ young), Giuseppe Rossi (ACLs made of twine but still 23) are too, and … Diego Costa, mostly in a secondary role.  

Also here are Benzoil, Gonzo, Soldado, Villa, Negrodo, Llorente, etc – also known as all the guys that either ended up playing at the big 2 in Spain or moving for mucho dinero overseas.

Oh, and uh… Pablo Osvaldo. Outside of one volley, he looks utterly useless since he moved to the Premier League. Alas, no model is foolproof.

Player Team90MinsGNPGG90NPG90
Cristiano Ronaldo2011Real Madrid32.233340321.2410.9928
Lionel Messi2011Barcelona31.755631270.97620.8502
Karim Benzema2011Real Madrid20.9556150.71580.7158
Gonzalo Higuaín2011Real Madrid14.6222100.68390.6839
Sergio Agüero2011Atletico Madrid29.733320190.67260.639
Roberto Soldado2011Valencia26.844418170.67050.6333
Felipe Caicedo2011Levante19.055613120.68220.6297
David Villa2011Barcelona30.7667180.5850.585
Christian Stuani2011Levante14.044480.56960.5696
Pablo Osvaldo2011Espanyol19.422213110.66930.5664
Álvaro Negredo2011Sevilla29.120160.68730.5498
Pedro2011Barcelona23.8333130.54550.5455
Salomón Rondón2011Malaga26.9111140.52020.5202
Fernando Llorente2011Athletic Bilbao35.2444180.51070.5107
Aritz Aduriz2011Valencia20.5889100.48570.4857
Luís Fabiano2011Sevilla15.44441070.64750.4532
Frederic Kanouté2011Sevilla21.01111290.57110.4283
Nilmar2011Villarreal26.3111110.41810.4181
Giuseppe Rossi2011Villarreal33.644418140.5350.4161
Diego Costa2011Atletico Madrid14.722260.40750.4075

Bundesliga 2010-11
Aaaand here I lose my football hipster badge because I have no clue who Novakovic, Allagui, or Lakic are. Sorry.

This was the year that the Gomez Button lead Europe in NPG90, and saw Kiessling doing his, “Even Jogi Lowe doesn’t know who I am, but I’m always near the top of the league in goals but never get called up to the German National Team” thing. Someone will write a play about this eventually, featuring turtlenecks, Nietzsche, and a lot of drawn out sighs. I figure this is Joey Barton’s second career after he hangs up the boots.

You also have a bunch of guys in the middle tier that would become very interesting names shortly thereafter. Lewandowski is 22 there. Schurrle is 20-21 and probably played wide a lot, plus you also have young Kagawa (midfielder bonus points), and Mario Mandzukic.

On the other hand, you have Papiss Cisse (what a great first six months at Newcastle! *ignores the rest of his Tyneside career*), Lucas Barrios, Mladen Petric (sorry Fulham, he was too old when you got him), and the aforementioned I-have-no-fucking-clue-who-they-are guys.

Player Team90MinsGNPGG90NPG90
Mario Gomez2011Bayern Munich27.166728271.03070.9939
Milivoje Novakovic2011FC Cologne23.1556170.73420.7342
Sami Allagui2011Mainz 0516.4222100.60890.6089
Lucas Barrios2011Borussia Dortmund27.5333160.58110.5811
Papiss Demba Cissé2011Freiburg31.155622180.70610.5777
Srdjan Lakic2011Kaiserslautern29.1111160.54960.5496
Shinji Kagawa2011Borussia Dortmund15.280.52630.5263
Mladen Petric2011Hamburger SV19.233311100.57190.5199
Mario Mandzukic2011Wolfsburg16.211180.49350.4935
Stefan Kießling2011Bayer Leverkusen14.922270.46910.4691
Claudio Pizarro2011Werder Bremen19.566790.460.46
Robert Lewandowski2011Borussia Dortmund17.622280.4540.454
Andre Schürrle2011Mainz 0526.555615120.56490.4519
Didier Ya Konan2011Hannover 9627.322214120.51240.4392
Grafite2011Wolfsburg20.555690.43780.4378
Pavel Pogrebnyak2011VfB Stuttgart18.422280.43430.4343
Martin Harnik2011VfB Stuttgart20.766790.43340.4334
Mohammed Abdellaoue2011Hannover 9623.3222100.42880.4288

SerieA 2010-11
I mentioned on Twitter that there were reasons why Arsenal fans might be interested in the rumored Pato move. As a kid, he was unreal. As an adult, there are questions about his ability to stay healthy and his current motivation. Those scoring numbers though… woof.

Also in the mix here are the eternally underrated Di Natale, 23-year-old Edinson Cavani, young Alessio Cerci (currently having a great season for Torino), young Alexis Sanchez (tearing it up for Barcelona), and a bunch of Italian stalwarts that are good but rarely great.

Player Team90MinsGNPGG90NPG90
Alexandre Pato2011AC Milan17.7444140.7890.789
Antonio Di Natale2011Udinese32.655628230.85740.7043
Edinson Cavani2011Napoli32.244426210.80630.6513
Fabio Quagliarella2011Juventus14.566790.61780.6178
Alessandro Matri2011Cagliari32.666720190.61220.5816
Robinho2011AC Milan25.8667140.54120.5412
Antonio Floro Flores2011Udinese24.7130.52630.5263
Samuel Eto"o2011Inter32.922221160.63790.486
Giampaolo Pazzini2011Sampdoria31.355617150.54220.4784
Marco Di Vaio2011Bologna37.933319180.50090.4745
Alessio Cerci2011Fiorentina15.277870.45820.4582
Alexis Sánchez2011Udinese26.5556120.45190.4519
Amauri2011Juventus15.644470.44740.4474
Mirko Vucinic2011Roma20.72221090.48260.4343

French 2010-11
Moussa Sow, Lisandro Lopez, and Loic Remy are the pick of the crop from France that season. Sow has maintained the same goalscoring rate since moving to Turkey, Remy has proven himself plenty capable of scoring in the Premier League, and Lopez was at his peak then, had two more good years for Lyon, and now presumably plays on a fat contract in the Middle East.

Also of interest here were 23-year-old Gervinho (he really was great at Lille), and 23-year-old Dimitri Payet (midfielder bonus points), who had an amazing year last season and then has underwhelmed a bit this year since a big move to Marseille.

Player Team90MinsGNPGG90NPG90
Moussa Sow2011Lille31.255625240.79990.7679
Lisandro López2011Lyon23.188917150.73310.6469
Loïc Remy2011Nice25.9667160.61620.6162
Kevin Gameiro2011Lorient35.811122200.61430.5585
Grégory Pujol2011Valenciennes32.0778170.530.53
Ideye Brown2011Sochaux31.2333150.48030.4803
Gervinho2011Lille31.6778150.47350.4735
Modibo Maiga2011Sochaux33.7778150.44410.4441
Youssef El-Arabi2011Caen36.311117160.46820.4406
Dimitri Payet2011Saint Etienne28.055613120.46340.4277
Article by Ted Knutson